Today, America's largest retailers urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support an amendment offered by Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) to include the Port Performance Act in the highway bill currently on the House floor this week. The amendment would give government and supply chain stakeholders consistent and objective means to measure performance at America's ports—a key component in the global supply chain upon which millions of American jobs are dependent.
"Retailers' supply chain operations are highly dependent on the functionality and efficiency of our U.S. ports," said Kelly Kolb, vice president for government affairs with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). "Establishing a means to collect port performance data and accurately measure productivity ensures retailers can adjust their operations in the face of congestion issues and is an important step in stabilizing our transportation system for all industries.
"Millions of American jobs are dependent on the global supply chain," added Kolb. "Our ports are the gateway for retail goods, raw materials and billions of customers around the world. Ensuring that these vital cogs in the supply chain are operating efficiently and effectively is vital to economic growth."
The Port Performance Act would direct the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to work with port authorities to obtain quantifiable port performance metrics. The bill also requires a reporting requirement before, during, and after the expiration of port labor contracts that will facilitate key federal government agencies' visibility into current conditions of port operations and ensure said operations continue to perform at appropriate levels.
Similar language has already been approved in the Senate-passed DRIVE Act, and retailers are urging members of the House to include it in the transportation package expected to be voted on tomorrow.
RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.